I take refuge in God from the accursed Satan.
In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
The Angels and the Spirit descend in (the Night of Power) by the leave of their Lord. Say: ‘The Spirit is of my Lord’s Command.
Since our sensory powers are limited, it is not wise to deny outright the existence of realms beyond our senses. Also, we know so little about existence that what we do know is considerably less than what we do not. Our sciences are still in their “childhood,” and the future will witness dazzling scientific discoveries and developments.
Sciences are supported by theories and develop through trial-and-error investigation of those theories. Numerous “established” facts were once considered false, and many other “established” facts are now known to be incorrect. We accept unquestionably, and without any scientific basis, the existence of many things. Since the beginning of time, most people have believed in the existence of the spirit and angels, jinn and Satan. So, it would seem to be more scientific to allow their existence in theory and then investigate it. Denying their existence is unscientific, insofar as such a judgment or conclusion must be based on concrete proof. No one can prove and therefore scientifically claim the non-existence of the invisible realm of existence.
Many physical qualities, such as heat and cold, and such abstract qualities as beauty and charm, and feelings of joy, sorrow, and love, can be experienced directly and measured to some degree. Materialists attribute these to some biochemical processes in the brain, and some scientists (like psychologists and psychiatrists) still try to explain them by natural or physical laws. However, our nonphysical side (namely, our feelings, beliefs, potentialities, desires, and so on that vary enormously from individual to individual, although everyone has the same material elements) is too profound to be explained by physics, chemistry, or biology. Believers can (and do) observe that the stronger their belief, the deeper and more regular their worship; and the higher their morality, the more radiant and lovable their faces appear to be. Can this fact be explained in merely physical terms?
The existence of the angels and other spiritual beings is as evident as the existence of human beings and animals
It can be argued that the existence of the angels and other spiritual beings is as evident as the existence of man and animals. Reality and universal wisdom require that the heavens should have conscious inhabitants of their own as does the earth. These inhabitants of many different kinds are called ‘angels and spirit beings’ in the language of the Shari‘a.
It is true that reality and universal wisdom require the existence of the angels and other spirit beings because the earth, although insignificant in size compared with the heavens, is continually being filled with and emptied of conscious beings. This clearly indicates that the heavens, which resemble decorated castles having awe-inspiring towers, are filled with living beings who are the perfect class of living creatures. These beings are conscious and have perception, and they are the light of existence; these are the angels, who, like the jinn and mankind, are observers of the universal palace of creation and students of this book of the universe and heralds of their Lord’s Sovereignty. Through their comprehensive worship, they manifest the praises of God by the whole of creation.
The universe requires the existence of the angels because the finely adorned works of art and meaningful decorations and purposeful, delicate embroideries displayed in it demand sentient beings who will reflect upon those perfections, and praise and commend them in full appreciation. Just as a beauty needs a lover, and food is given to the hungry, so the food for the souls and the hearts, provided through this infinite beauty of art, is, first of all, related to the existence of the angels and other spirit beings. The infinite beauty and majesty of the universe calls for a response, which has to be an infinite duty of contemplation and servanthood, but since the capacity of the jinn and mankind is inadequate for this duty, countless angels and spirit beings fill the great mosque of existence with rows arranged in worship of the Creator. This is what the bands of the angels and other spirit beings do in every corner of the universe. Each band has a duty of servanthood particular to itself. This is implied by some Prophetic sayings, and the order of the universe manifests it: some mobile objects, from certain heavenly bodies like stars to raindrops, for example, provide vehicles for the angels, who mount them by the leave of God and travel through the material world praising and glorifying God.
Furthermore, certain sorts of living bodies provide vehicles for some souls. For example, there is a hadith that the souls of the people of Paradise enter into ‘green birds’ of Paradise in the Intermediate Realm--the world of the grave--and travel around Paradise in them, and those birds, and even some flies are from these groups of living bodies. These souls, by the authority of God, enter into these living things and observe the wonders of creation through their senses and perform the glorification of the Creator on their behalf. Reality and the Divine Wisdom require this, since, just as God has breathed life into gross clay and muddy water, which have little to do with the spirit, and produced numerous conscious beings, so too, He surely creates certain sorts of intelligent beings from light and other subtle substances like air and electricity as they are more appropriate for the creation of the spirit and life.
A parable to understand the existence of angels
If you wish to understand how true and rational it is to accept the existence of angels and other spirit beings, and as the Qur’an shows, how contrary to truth and wisdom, and what a superstition and foolishness it is not to accept them, consider the following parable :
Two men, a wild nomad and a civilized person, went to Istanbul. In a remote corner of that well-ordered and magnificent city they came across an old building which contained a factory. They observed that the factory was full of miserable workers. They also noticed that there were numerous living beings in the neighborhood, some living upon vegetables and some eating fish only. Whilst they were watching these people, they had a vision of palaces and castles, amongst which were huge workshops. However, they could see no inhabitants living in them, either because of their defective eyesight or because the inhabitants were hiding. There was no comparison between the living conditions of the old building and these palaces, and because of this, the wild man of the desert concluded that these palaces were devoid of inhabitants. His friend, who was civilized and sensible, admonished him by saying, ‘O you unfortunate man, you can see this poor, dilapidated factory is inhabited by workers–somebody very powerful and wise is employing them, and replacing them by new ones. Furthermore, there is no empty space around the factory, everywhere has been made use of, so how is it possible that those palaces and castles should be unoccupied? They are certainly inhabited by beings who have different conditions of life; you should never consider them unoccupied, you cannot see those inhabitants only because they hide themselves. Because you cannot see, something does not mean that it does not exist.
The earth, although many times smaller than other heavenly bodies, is so densely inhabited by countless living creatures that even a most insignificant part of it is the home of numerous living things like microorganisms. This shows that those infinite firmaments with numerous stars and constellations are inhabited by conscious, living beings created from fire, light, air, ether, and other subtle forms of matter. Such living beings, in the language of the Holy Qur’an and the pure teaching of the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, are known as angels, jinn and spirit entities, and like earthly creatures, they have their kinds. The angel in charge of a raindrop is certainly different from the one in charge of the sun, and the jinn are also of different kinds.
This article has been adapted from Risale- i Nur Collection.